LINCOLN — Bo Pelini is looking for more from his Nebraska football team.
The NU head coach was not happy with the No. 8 Huskers’ performance in their season-opening 49-10 victory over Western Kentucky Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
Pelini certainly wasn’t happy with the 299 yards of total offense that the Blackshirts gave up, or the 189 yards rushing, including a career-high 155 yards by running back Bobby Rainey.
Pelini said that doesn’t mean the Huskers shouldn’t be happy to win.
“I just told our team, you’ve got to enjoy it any time you win,” Pelini said.
But Pelini never expected the Huskers to be at their best for the opener. He’s pointing toward other goals.
“I hope there’s not a guy in that locker room that’s happy with how they played and think that they’ve played their best football. That didn’t happen,” he said. “But you know what? It shouldn’t happen the first game.
“I mean I’ve never been around a football team that played their best football in week one. That’s why you practice. That’s why you play that first game and move on. We have to make a big jump between game one and game two.”
Senior defensive back DeJon Gomes, who had six tackles and forced a fumble by Rainey that was recovered in the end zone by NU’s Eric Hagg for a touchback after a 46-yard run, said he understands what Pelini was talking about.
“Yeah, there was a lot of play that we need to improve on,” he said. “Alignments, assignments and just some simple stuff that I think he is mainly talking about. We need to go into practice this week and fix it for the next week.”
The Huskers certainly did some good things offensively with 536 total yards, including 298 yards on the ground. Redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez led the way with 127 yards on just seven carries (18.1 per try) in his first game as a Husker.
Sophomore running back Rex Burkhead, who had 57 yards rushing and a touchdown to go along with two receptions for 47 yards, said the offensive production was good.
“I think we did well,” Burkhead said. “We came out and ran the ball really well. You have the passing game going too. We still have room for improvement, but we came out and executed really well I thought at the start. (We) got a little off in the second quarter, but I definitely think we’re headed in the right direction. We’ve still got miles and miles to go.”
The Husker offense certainly looked different than a year ago when it struggled to find any consistency throughout most of the season. Burkhead likes the different formations the NU offense is using this year.
“The run game out of the shotgun formation as well as getting under center and running it every now and then, it opens up the field, opens up the defense and just creates more and more holes,” Burkhead said.
Now the Huskers will just go back to work and get ready for Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. game against Idaho, a team that beat North Dakota State 45-0 in its opener on Thursday for its first shutout since 1997.
“There isn’t a guy on our football team who is a finished product,” Pelini said. “Otherwise we’d just call it a day and we wouldn’t practice. I don’t think you’re ever going to find anyone who is totally comfortable with everything. That’s why you practice every day.”